# Physics (MS)

Overview

Two options are available for the degree plan leading to the Master of Science in Physics (thesis and non-thesis), and the candidate must declare one of the options at the time of admission. Both options require 30 semester credit hours for successful completion.

Admission Requirements

To be admitted to the graduate program in physics, prospective candidates must first meet all requirements for graduate admission to UT Rio Grande Valley, as well as the other requirements listed below:

- Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a recognized international equivalent in a similar or related field.
- Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in the last 60 semester credit hours.
- GRE General Test with a minimum Quantitative score of 161 for clear admission. No waiver of the GRE test if the applicant has completed a previous master's degree. If the applicant’s GPA is below 3.0 or the applicant does not have a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, the applicant is required to submit the GRE Subject Test in Physics.
- Two letters of recommendation
- Statement of purpose

Application for admission must be submitted prior to the published deadline. The application is available at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply.

GRE General test scores (www.ets.org) must be sent by ETS directly to the University.

Two letters of recommendation from people familiar with the applicant’s undergraduate or graduate scholastic record.

The statement of purpose should include a letter outlining your motivation why you want to pursue a Masters in Physics.

Every student admitted into the program will be required to set up a degree plan in consultation with the graduate committee and approved by the department chair. The degree plan will take into account the educational background of the student and his/her future plans. It will consist of a timeline showing the sequence of courses that the student needs to take in order to complete the program successfully. Progress of the student through the program will be measured against this baseline degree plan after the end of each semester. Any changes needed to the degree plan, agreed upon by the student and the graduate committee and approved by the department chair, will also come into effect at the end of each semester.

Thesis Option

The Master of Science program thesis option requires the successful completion of a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of Physics courses. Students must enroll in the Master’s Thesis course PHYS 7300 when recommended to do so by their advisor. They must then take PHYS 7301 until final approval has been granted by the advisor. However, no more than 6 hours of thesis will count toward the M.S. degree. All candidates must comply with Graduate College guidelines regarding thesis application, submission and defense.

The student is required to take PHYS 5310, PHYS 5320, PHYS 5330 and PHYS 5340 as these are the traditional core courses for more advanced study (e.g., Ph.D. degree) and research. Twelve semester credit hours of Physics courses are required to complete the 30 credit hours. These courses will form part of the student’s Program of Study, with courses chosen to be appropriate for the background and research interests of each student. Additional credit hours may be taken from any of the elective physics courses or graduate courses offered by other departments previously approved by the Department of Physics and Astronomy Graduate Committee.

Non-Thesis Option

This option requires the successful completion of a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of Physics courses.

Comprehensive Exam: Non-thesis students must take a comprehensive oral examination covering the student’s understanding of graduate level Physics concepts. The comprehensive exam will be administered by a departmental committee. The semester in which the comprehensive exam is to be taken will appear on the program of study of non-thesis students. It will not be scheduled prior to the student’s final semester of coursework.

The student is required to take PHYS 5310, PHYS 5320, PHYS 5330 and PHYS 5340 as these are the traditional core courses for more advanced study (e.g., Ph.D. degree) and research. Eighteen semester credit hours of Physics courses are required to complete the 30 credit hours. Additional credit hours may be taken from any of the elective physics courses or graduate courses offered by other departments previously approved by the Department of Physics and Astronomy Graduate Committee.

## Program Requirements

### Required Courses - 12 Hours

PHYS 5310 | Classical Mechanics I | 3 |

PHYS 5320 | Electrodynamics I | 3 |

PHYS 5330 | Statistical Mechanics | 3 |

PHYS 5340 | Quantum Mechanics I | 3 |

### Non-Thesis Option:

#### Designated Electives - 12 Hours

PHYS 5360 | Optics | 3 |

PHYS 5361 | Applied Electromagnetics | 3 |

PHYS 5375 | Structure and Function of Biological Molecules | 3 |

PHYS 5387 | Special Topics in Physics | 3 |

PHYS 5392 | Gravitational Wave Astronomy | 3 |

PHYS 5393 | Introduction to General Relativity and Gravitation | 3 |

PHYS 5394 | Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy | 3 |

PHYS 6330 | Quantum Mechanics II | 3 |

PHYS 6331 | Solid State Physics | 3 |

PHYS 6350 | Mathematical Physics I | 3 |

PHYS 6351 | Mathematical Physics II | 3 |

PHYS 6352 | Computational Physics | 3 |

PHYS 6362 | Quantum Optics | 3 |

PHYS 6364 | Nanophotonics: Materials and Devices | 3 |

PHYS 6371 | Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Biological Systems | 3 |

PHYS 6381 | Introduction to Astrophysics | 3 |

PSCI 5340 | Physical Science for High School Teachers II | 3 |

*PHYS 5387** may be taken twice. *

#### Free Electives - 3 to 6 Hours

PHYS 6396 | Graduate Research I | 3 |

PHYS 6397 | Graduate Research II | 3 |

#### Capstone Requirement

##### Oral Comprehensive Exam

### Thesis Option

#### Prescribed Electives - 6 Hours

PHYS 5360 | Optics | 3 |

PHYS 5361 | Applied Electromagnetics | 3 |

PHYS 5375 | Structure and Function of Biological Molecules | 3 |

PHYS 5387 | Special Topics in Physics | 3 |

PHYS 5392 | Gravitational Wave Astronomy | 3 |

PHYS 5393 | Introduction to General Relativity and Gravitation | 3 |

PHYS 5394 | Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy | 3 |

PHYS 6330 | Quantum Mechanics II | 3 |

PHYS 6331 | Solid State Physics | 3 |

PHYS 6350 | Mathematical Physics I | 3 |

PHYS 6351 | Mathematical Physics II | 3 |

PHYS 6352 | Computational Physics | 3 |

PHYS 6362 | Quantum Optics | 3 |

PHYS 6364 | Nanophotonics: Materials and Devices | 3 |

PHYS 6371 | Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Biological Systems | 3 |

PHYS 6381 | Introduction to Astrophysics | 3 |

PSCI 5340 | Physical Science for High School Teachers II | 3 |

*PHYS 5387** may be taken twice. *

#### Free Electives - 3 to 6 Hours

PHYS 6396 | Graduate Research I | 3 |

PHYS 6397 | Graduate Research II | 3 |

#### Thesis - 6 Hours

PHYS 7300 | Thesis I | 3 |

PHYS 7301 | Thesis II | 3 |

Total Credit Hours: 30